The newest piece we created has its roots in such an arena. Attending an expansive and beautifully presented gallery showing of the work of Mark Ryden in Los Angeles, we wandered throughout, yet were repeatedly revisiting one specific painting, “Queen Bee.” It depicted a pale serious-looking young woman wearing an enormous beehive hairstyle, crowned with a bee resting at the peak. (Pictured to the right)
It sparked this wet-plate collodion tribute piece. Breathing the idea to life in photographic form, the single bee becomes a swarm, and, flying at differing depths, sizes, and degrees of sharpness, lends the image a sense of movement and energy. Bees can be a source of legitimate fear for people, but they are also a source of food and medicine. Nearly always we are warned if they are about, but here in our piece, the bees have an earnest sense of belonging, also reflected in the hive-like wrapping which the woman wears. The subject's unperturbed demeanor suggests either origin or mastery – perhaps both. Our strong “Bee Hive Woman” and Ryden's angelic-looking “Queen Bee” retain an elusive sense of the other-worldly. After all, the drama is in the imagination's details.
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